Yahweh Rophe - The Lord Who Heals
Rophe. In Hebrew, this word means to “heal,” “cure,” “restore,” or “make whole.” As God led me to begin going deeper into His name, Yahweh Rophe, “The Lord Who Heals,” I could not have known how much our nation would need this very reminder just a week later.
In midst of unrest, deep pain, injustice, riots and racial tensions, this scene of snow blanketing the desert came as such a stark contrast from the swirling emotions that have recently overtaken our nation.
It is a vision I have been wanting to paint for over a year, but I had no idea why. When a friend recently asked if I had ever considered painting snow in the desert, I knew it was time to start.
With only a visual reference from which to work and the knowledge that Yahweh Rophe was the central focus of this piece, I began to ask the Lord, as I often do, why now? His answer came quickly in the form of the story of Moses at the waters of Marah.
In Exodus 15:20-27, God brings His children out into the desert to test them. Now, they had just rejoiced after passing through the red sea and seeing Pharaoh’s army defeated, but quickly their rejoicing turned into complaining as bitter as the water at Marah.
Springs are often bitter in the Sinai desert and the bitterness they encountered at this place, just days from the Red Sea, was no different.
In this moment of deep crisis, with no water for the thousands of Israelites, their faith failed. Their belief faltered and they began to rebel against the very God who led them out of slavery just days before. It is then that Moses did what they should have done — He cries out to God.
And God does not hesitate. He wastes no time showing Moses a tree to throw into the water and in a moment He miraculously sweetens the spring. There is no word of rebuke, no chastising - just a sweet and gracious response from God. He makes the waters drinkable. He heals them.
It is no wonder then that this is the first place that He introduces Himself to His people as Yahweh Rophe, reminding them that freedom from serving Pharaoh, doesn’t mean “anything goes,” it means freedom to serve Yahweh alone. If they do, He promises that, “I am the Lord who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26)
It’s at this moment I realized that the test wasn’t meant to create failure, but was used to show them the weakness of their faith and need for Him. I believe we stand at the same crossroads today.
Today we are faced with the bitterness of sin and millennia of brokenness that has no other answer, but the healing that only comes above. As God tells Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:14 :
“...if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
This isn’t just a suggestion or even an option among many others. No. Now, more than ever, this has to be our heart’s cry. We must crave and require as a necessity, the face of God, turn from the wickedness we have allowed to sicken our land, call on the Lord to forgive us, and believe that He alone can heal us.
As David wrote in Psalms 147:3 — "He is the Rophe of the brokenhearted and He is the One Who bandages their wounds.”
We must also realize, that as a nation we have forsaken God, just as the Israelites did in Jeremiah’s time. God told Jeremiah...
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
Let’s pray and repent in this hour my friends, acknowledging that we have looked everywhere else for answers, hope, and satisfaction. May we hear our Yahweh Rophe, saying to us, as he
He did to his people:
“Return, faithless people;
I will cure you of backsliding.” (Jeremiah 3:22)
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…”